Benton County

Pvt. DeMont Erland





Sioux City Veteran Who Suffered Loss of Both Hands Granted Drivers License
S. Sgt. Dougherty and Another Disabled Iowan Qualify

Des Moines.—(AP)—Loss of both arms below the elbow in the war isn’t going to keep Sgt. Thomas M. Dougherty of Sioux City from driving a car.

The Iowa Public Safety Department reported Monday that the 29-year-old Dougherty has been approved by the Michigan state police as a capable driver despite the double amputation.

Clarence Shirer, superintendent of the Iowa driver’s license division, said Dougherty would be allowed to maintain an Iowa drivers license on the basis of the Michigan recommendation.

Dougherty has been a patient in a government hospital in Michigan.

The examining officer in Michigan told the Iowa department that Dougherty “has an artificial left hand and a hook device on the right hand.”

The Michigan state police also placed its stamp of approval on Pvt. Demont Erland, 24, of Vinton, Ia., whose right leg was amputated above the knee. The examining officer reported that Erland needed no special equipment “other than an artificial limb” in order to qualify as a normal driver.

How Erland was injured was not reported.

Shirer said the state department is preparing a program that will assist the returning disabled veteran “in every way possible to learn to handle a car.”

Source: The Sioux City Journal, January 23, 1945


DeMont Erland, 25, paratrooper wounded at Anzio and discharged, helps on home farm near Vinton, Ia., despite artificial leg. (Caption below photograph)


Golden Oats Herald Iowa’s Harvest Time
[partial text….]
The labor shortage is being eased a little bit by the return of the first veterans.

One of these is DeMont Erland, 25, discharged in April. Since then, he has planted corn, plowed corn, cut oats, made hay, and performed a miscellany of chores.  Erland lives near Vinton, Ia.

That would not be unusual, except that Erland, a paratrooper Private and veteran of two combat missions, lost a leg above the knee at Anzio beachhead in Italy.

Machinery is a great thing, but there is still too much heavy work on the farm for a man with an artificial leg, Erland has found.  He will enroll this fall in the Henry Ford trade school, Detroit, Mich., and learn to be a toolmaker. 

Source: The Des Moines Register,  August 5, 1945 (photo included)